Whether you choose inpatient or outpatient treatment will depend largely upon the depth of your addiction, distance from the rehab facility and work and family commitments.
If you are managing to keep up with work or education responsibilities and are only drinking or using at night – then it is likely that you could do well on an outpatient regime. Treatment typically revolves around individual counseling sessions combined with group therapy.
If you are drinking and using around the clock and suffer withdrawal with abstinence, then you need the more structured regime of inpatient treatment. Similarly, if you have tried outpatient treatment in the past – without long term success – or you are under too much external stress to be able to focus on recovery, then an inpatient program would be the best option for you to achieve a successful recovery. Treatment typically involves 24 hour supervision with limited outside interaction. Inpatient rehab is structured, with educational modules, workshops, clinical therapy sessions, holistic treatments, 12-step meetings and group processing filling up the majority of each day. Visits from family and friends are generally limited to weekends or family & group therapy.
In short, outpatient programs allow functioning individuals to maintain a relatively normal daily routine whilst attending therapy during the evening. Inpatient treatment offers a more structured environment, free from outside influences, to allow the client to concentrate on achieving long term successful recovery.